The Blood Donation That Wasn’t

The selfie says I donated yesterday. But I didn’t. My first failed @redcrossla blood donation in 33 years and it’s bugging me.

See, I’m normally a really speedy bleeder. Poke me and I can fill up a blood bag like I’m a blood bag-filling contest champion.

But this time there was a noticeable sting when the needle went in followed by a problem right away. The technicians kept fiddling with the needle’s position in my arm (always fun) to try to get things flowing but ultimately there’s a time factor and all they were able to get when the buzzer went off from me was about a half a pint.

When the needle was removed and inspected there was mention of clotting that occurred in it as the possible cause and I was all, “Well, half is better than nothing right,” and the techs just smiled. Then they handed me a compress to use later for what they expected would be some bruising from all the needle manipulation and I left trying to rationalize a positive out of a negative.

It was only later in the day when my sore arm and I realized what was behind the silent smiles. They hadn’t filled any of the usual testing/sample vials meaning my 8ish ounces of red sauce was probably pitched rather unceremoniously into the nearest fail bin. As someone who cherishes the news when the app alerts me my donations have made their way to their final destinations (Anaheim, Pomona, American Samoa, among other places), it is a huge bummer buzz kill that the half order drained from me yesterday is going nowhere but some sort of unusable bodily fluids disposal system. Damn.

Plus, not even a consoling “Hey, we’re sorry it didn’t work out this time” message from the #redcrossbloodapp. It’s like my attempt didn’t even exist, and that sucks.

And in related disappointing news, my experiment snacking on blanched spinach instead of straight raw spinach this last month in the hopes I’d be reducing my potentially iron-blocking oxalic acid intake and that my hemoglobin levels would respond by bouncing back into the 16gm/dL range like they were a year ago before diving down into the 13s proved all for naught. It was 13.7 at my last donation in January. Yesterday it was 13.4. Pffft.

Published by


Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."